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EU GM maize impasse favours DuPont

EC will approve 1507 by default

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The EU has failed for the second time to approve importation of a GM maize produced by DuPont Co. subsidiary Pioneer Hi-Bred International and Dow AgroSciences offshoot Mycogen Seeds.

The GM organism - dubbed 1507 - is resistant to glufosinate-ammonium herbicide and some insects. Back in May, EU agricultural experts couldn't reach an accord on the matter, with eight nations (including the UK) voting in favour, nine saying no and eight abstaining.

Accordingly, the matter was passed to EU ministers for consideration, Reuters reports. Surprisingly, Denmark changed its traditionally anti-GM stance and voted in favour of approval. This was not, however, enough to carry the day.

Under EU law, the failure of experts and ministers to reach a definitive decision means that the import of 1507 will likely be rubberstamped by the European Commission within the next month or so.

This approval is not for cultivation - Hi-Bred/Mycogen have submitted a separate application for this which faces an initial "debate by technical experts" at some unspecified time in the future.

Mike Hall, European Communications Manager at Pioneer Hi-Bred, said: "It's heartening that more member states voted positively this time than in the regulatory committee. Just as Denmark was one of the countries responsible for the moratorium, it's heartening to see they have voted in recognition of the EU's science-based evaluation of this product."

The moratorium in question was an effective ban on biotech products by "legal default procedure". It was lifted last year, but there is still a hard-core minority of nations - including Austria, Belgium and Greece - able to block approval of GM products. Denmark's apparent defection to the GM cause reduces this in favour of GM supporters, including Britain and the Netherlands. ®

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